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International Year of Forests

(January 1st, 2011 - December 31st, 2013)

James Gentles

Scotland — How it used to be?

James Gentles

Dunmore Pineapple

near Airth, by Falkirk, Scotland, UK

February 26, 2011, 15:58 UTC (local)

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© 2011 James Gentles, All Rights Reserved.

Built in 1761 by John Murray, the 4th Earl of Dunmore, on the surface this could by one of many walled gardens/orchards built in Scotland, but look around, why is there a pineapple built on top of the garden wall? This ranks as one of Scotland's secret treasures, not on the normal tourist route, but fascinating all the same.

It's hidden up a pot-holed road in a clearing in the trees. Many Scottish estates boasted walled gardens but this one is stranger than fiction. Not only did the garden fruit trees produce the normal fare, but they also grew pineapples here—an untasted and unheard of exotic fruit 250 years ago in Scotland.

The fruit grew in glass houses (now long gone) built against the walls under the over-the-top 45ft (14m) stone pineapple cupola. The buildings had cottages for the gardeners, a furnace to heat the glass house (Greek urns for chimneys), and a summer house, or pavilion, for relaxation.

Despite the apparent mixture of architectural styles, the absurdity of the whole building just seems to work!

Donated to the National Trust for Scotland in 1974, Landmark Trust renovated the building and lets it out as a holiday cottage—a pineapple in the forest!
Dunmore Pineapple

Kite Aerial Photography Gallery

Europe / UK-Scotland

Lat: 56° 4' 35.76" N
Long: 4° 48' 10.32" W

Elevation: 15m ASL + 50m AGL

→ maps.google.com [EXT]

Precision is: Unknown / Undeclared.

Nikon 8400 with FC-E9 Lens. Homemade camera cradle/rig, triggered by a gentLED intervalometer. Suspended below a Dan Leigh Cruiser kite with 8ft/2.5m span.

This technique produces two hemispheres, and a different workflow in PTGui from the classic ground pano technique. This results in lower resolution BUT impossible angles!

See the rig, how Kite Aerial Photography is achieved, and the workflow.
Behind the scene : how this panorama was made
The challenge with the Forest Theme is that trees and kites don't mix well. I have visited this location several times in recent years, and never found conditions right to launch a kite from the limited space within the walled area.

On this occasion it seemed like conditions were in my favour, and after several attempts I managed to get the 8ft span Cruiser high enough that it caught the wind above the surrounding trees. I let out more line to gain more height and gain some stability. With a 250ft flying limit in the UK the kite was almost at its limit, leaving little room to let out more line on which to raise the camera.

First I raised a small Ricoh camera and took shots of the Pineapple for rectalinear use, these turned out well as there was warm low-angle Scottish sunshine lighting the subject. After 30minutes this was lowered and the heavier 1.4Kg (3lbs) Panorama/fisheye rig was prepared for flight. Always a nervous time as the fisheye lens has no protection should it touch the ground. This camera takes picutres automatially every 3seconds, with the best image being selected after the shoot.

The camera rose as the sun went behind a cloud. Later inspection showed that if only I had been 5 minutes earlier in starting the flight... I flew for nearly 45minutes, taking an entire CF card of 800 images but the sun had gone for the day. At one stage 4 Microlights flew overhead, were they below 250ft or was I above?

So I got my picture(s) but without the sunshine which adds depth to aerial images, hopefully you like the results!

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